Not all NFL drafts are created equal. Over the years, there have been some that have been heavy with stars, and some where the talent pool has proven to be shallow.

Here's a look at some of the best first rounds.


This is remembered as the year of the quarterback, led by Hall of Famers John Elway (No. 1 overall), Jim Kelly (14), and Dan Marino (27). But even if you throw out all six signal-callers in Round 1, this group is exceptional. Eric Dickerson (2) and Bruce Matthews (9) are Hall of Famers, and Darrell Green (28) is not eligible yet.

The second tier of stars included Curt Warner (3), Chris Hinton (4), Jimbo Covert (6), Terry Kinard (10), Willie Gault (18), Joey Browner (19), Jim Jeffcoat (23), and Don Mosebar (26).

The Eagles got Michael Haddix (8). If you could switch the running back with second-rounder Wes Hopkins (35), the first round would look even better.


There were only 13 first-round picks (including a bonus selection), but 11 of the 13 combined for 45 Pro Bowl selections. The two giants of the first round were arguably the best players ever at their positions - running back Jim Brown (6) and guard-tackle Jim Parker (8) - and they have been joined in Canton by Paul Hornung (1) and Len Dawson (5).

The Eagles got Clarence Peaks (7), who led the 1960 championship team in rushing. They later used consecutive picks on Hall of Famers Tommy McDonald (31) and Sonny Jurgensen (43).


Receivers were the big catch, led by Keyshawn Johnson (1), Terry Glenn (7), Marvin Harrison (19), and Eric Moulds (24).

There were stars at other positions as well, including defensive end Simeon Rice (3), tackle Willie Anderson (10), running back Eddie George (14), and linebacker John Mobley (15).

The biggest winner of all: The Ravens scooped up Jonathan Ogden (4) and Ray Lewis (26).

The Eagles got Jermane Mayberry (25), the team's first Pro Bowl guard in decades. Brian Dawkins (61) came in Round 2.


Earl Campbell (1) started things off with a blast, followed by Art Still (2) and Wes Chandler (3), both four-time Pro Bowl selections. James Lofton (6) and Ozzie Newsome (23) are enshrined with Campbell in the Hall of Fame, and the middle of the round was loaded: Clay Matthews (12), Mike Kenn (13), John Jefferson (14), and Doug Williams (17).

The Eagles got no one. The Bengals used one of the picks from the Bill Bergey trade to land Ross Browner (8).


There are four Hall of Famers atop this 14-player class - Mike Ditka (5), Jimmy Johnson (6), Herb Adderley (12), and Bob Lilly (13) - plus some strong supporting talent, including Tommy Mason (1), Norm Snead (2), and Tom Matte (7).

The Eagles got Art Baker (14). He signed with the AFL instead.

On the radar: 2004

It's way too early to rate this group, but it's rich in young stars, led by quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger (11), Philip Rivers (4), and Eli Manning (1). Other early standouts include Larry Fitzgerald (3), Sean Taylor (5), DeAngelo Hall (8), Jonathan Vilma (12), Tommie Harris (14), and Steven Jackson (24).

The Eagles got Shawn Andrews (16), already a Pro Bowler.

NFL Draft by Position: Running Backs

Last year, four teams selected running backs in the first round of the draft, and all four pressed the rookies into action early. Reggie Bush (New Orleans, second pick), Lawrence Maroney (New England, 21), DeAngelo Williams (Carolina, 27), and Joseph Addai (Indianapolis, 30) were complementary players who should all see increased carries this season.

This year's crop includes:

Adrian Peterson, 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, Oklahoma. What a freshman. Peterson stormed college football in 2004, rushing for a freshman record 339 times for 1,925 yards, and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Despite suffering significant injuries the next two seasons - a high ankle sprain in 2005 and a broken collarbone in '06 - Peterson still eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. He should be the first running back taken in the draft, and likely within the first 10 picks.

Antonio Pittman, 5-11,  195 pounds, Ohio State. Likely a first-day, but not first-round, pick, Pittman was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards the last two seasons, averaged north of five yards per carry for his career, and committed just two turnovers in 557 career rushing attempts. 

Others: Kenny Irons, Auburn; Michael Bush, Louisville; Tony Hunt, Penn State; Lorenzo Booker, Florida State; Chris Henry, Arizona.

   - Ashley Fox